Digital | ON: GAMES

PlayStation adds more power to the PS4

by Brian Ashcraft

More power to the PS4

This is for those who think the PlayStation 4 isn’t powerful enough. Dubbed the PlayStation 4 Pro, the console has souped-up hardware with more processing power and a revamped GPU. The result is a console that can stream 4K video and render select games at 4K, all at smoother frame rates. Sony is calling this the “most powerful console” you can buy.

Even if you don’t have a 4K TV, games will run smoother on the Pro and, depending on the title, there will be more detailed graphics. For those hoping the Pro will take care of all their ultra high-definition needs, though, be warned: the console will not play Ultra HD Blu-ray.

If you’re in the market to get a PlayStation 4, but not ready for the Pro, Sony also released a new standard console last month, and it’s 40 percent slimmer than the original.

The PlayStation 4 Pro goes on sale Nov. 11 for ¥48,578, while the slim Playstation 4 is ¥32,378

Rising sun and waxing moon

The end of each year brings releases of the biggest games. Among the most anticipated this year are “Pokemon Sun” and “Pokemon Moon.”

These latest Pokemon entries bring a whole host of new features, forms and abilities to the long-running series. The two versions of the game are set in Alola, a Hawaii-inspired locale, where the climate influences the shapes and abilities of Pokemon known as Alola Forms.

“Sun” and “Moon” feature a new devastating tactic called the Z-move, which players can use only once. The Z-moves are specific to each Pokemon. Pikachu, for example, can shoot a massive electric beam called the Gigavolt Havoc that will lay waste to foes. Besides new menacing Ultra Beast rivals and Legendary Pokemon, the games have introduced a Poke Finder feature that lets players to take snapshots of the Pokemon they find.

Both “Sun” and “Moon” feature unique Pokemon to battle, capture and train, and their in-game clocks are set 12-hours apart, giving players a different experience. The games are also filled with all sorts of nods and winks that are bound to please fans, such as the absence of Professor Oak who is replaced by his tanned cousin in a Hawaiian shirt.

Since both are 3DS games, Nintendo is also releasing a pair of very cool Pokemon-themed handhelds: a black New Nintendo 3DS featuring Solgaleo and Lunala, and a yellow one with Pikachu. Each handheld is ¥18,800, so you might want to think twice before catching them all.

“Pokemon Sun” and Pokemon Moon”” will be released on Nov. 18 at ¥5,387 each or ¥10,756 for both.

Joining the Mafia

One of the biggest booths at this year’s Tokyo Game Show (TGS) was for “Mafia III.” The open-world game is set in a fictionalized version of New Orleans in 1968, and the gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played “Grand Theft Auto.” The “Grand Theft Auto” titles have a strong following in Japan, which is perhaps why the publisher of “Mafia III” decided to have such a large booth at TGS.

“Mafia III” follows Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam War hero who is out for mobster vengeance. The story is filled with commentary on race, power and politics, making the title a fascinating break from many of the fantasy and sci-fi games hitting this fall.

It is already being praised for having one of the most compelling stories of this year, so while the gameplay may be too familiar, the plot and the characters should be engaging enough to hold players’ attention.

The Japan release date for “Mafia III” is Oct. 7, with the PS4 and Xbox One retail versions priced at ¥8,532 and the PS4 and Xbox One download versions at ¥7,484 and ¥7,538 respectively. A PC download version is also available for ¥7,484.

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